Friday, March 10, 2006

Industrial Sunset

Industrial Sunset

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I remember reading in the National Geographic many years ago about a photographer nearly frying his eyes while shooting a sunset through a huge telephoto lens. I never gave it much thought, mainly because they weren’t my eyes that nearly got fried, and because I did not have a huge white (presumably white; seems like everyone in the field uses Canon telephoto lenses anyway) telephoto lens.

Why anyone would shoot sunsets using a huge white telephoto lens was beyond me. Until today.

For comparison, the same scene was shot fully zoomed out. Yes, pretty clouds, but nothing as dramatic as a close-up of the apparently blazing horizon.

Location guide:

12th floor of the Redmond Barry building, Melbourne University. This is the tallest building in the university, and is oriented in the east-west direction with windows facing north and south.

Take the lift up to the 12th floor (psychology general office) and walk down the corridor. On the left is a staff room (more like a staff lounge) that looks south towards the city with windows that open. The lounge is usually unlocked and from my experience, people do not mind you as long as you ask first.

For west facing windows, skip the staff room and go right on into the stair well. The western windows are quite mucky and you will need to choose a reasonable clean area as the windows do not open.

To look north, the male toilet at the stairwell has windows that face north. These windows can be opened. If you prefer a female washroom, go down one floor. Toilets alternate between male and female every floor.

There are no known east facing windows. At any rate the view to the east is rather dull.

Automatic doors close after 7 or 8pm but can be opened from the inside by pressing a large green button near the doors.

Last year, someone in the staff room helpfully told me that the roof level can be accessed by telling the building manager you need to fix *** on the roof since this is a common occurrence. However, I can’t recall what this *** might be, or which intercom terminal I am supposed to buzz to get the correct person. Apparently the view up there is much better since it’s a 360 degree field of view.

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Blogger Dr. Tan said...

They burnt their eyes because the eye is watching the sun, not the CCD. Try not to do that too much as you will burn your CCD, resulting in 'ghosting'

2:33 pm, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Lao Chen said...

I know. I made reference to that article becasue of the telephoto lenses.

The sunset light is really of low intensity. The auto exposure gave me 1/400s and F/5.6, reasonably normal values.

I've tried landscape shots in intense sunlight on our way to Sydney using the Olympus. So damn bright that the F/8.0 and 1/1000 were flashing red- working at the limit and still not enough. Had to use my sunglasses in front of the lens.

I was not pointing at the sun or anywhere near it.

11:58 pm, March 12, 2006  
Blogger Jer-Wei Lam (sean) said...

You need to save up for a 600mm tele lens my old friend. Add a 2x teleconverter and you're good to go.

10:28 pm, March 14, 2006  
Blogger Lao Chen said...

Yeah, been looking at teleconverters. The Raynox 2020PRO that does 2.2x is quite costly.

10:03 am, March 15, 2006  

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